Social media might bite back

Anyone can pick up a teenager’s phone, open their profile, scroll through their feed and see inappropriate language, revealing photos and posts of getting “black out drunk” the previous weekend.

It’s these actions that create such a hazardous media footprint for many teens, not only today, but also in their futures.

Seventy percent of teens use a social media site, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

And the saddest part is, teens don’t realize the negative web presence they’re creating. It can’t be erased, it can’t be deleted and it can’t be hidden. It’s there forever.

Students may not realize it now, but in the real world, most professional companies ask for social profiles and sometimes even passwords when screening new employees. That one crazy picture from Mexico might just come back to bite someone.

Teens say “but only my friends will see it” or “it’s just a post.” But think about it this way: if teens feel embarrassed to show their parents or teachers the post, it’s probably something to keep off social media sites.

It can even affect admission into colleges. Thirty percent of admissions officers said they discovered information online negatively affected an applicant’s prospects, according to Kaplan.

But there is a silver lining to this rapidly growing trend of social media and it can actually be used to students’ advantage.

Students should show interest in what they’re passionate about. It’s the best way to land that internship or to impress future employers. Take the initiate. Make a professional website to promote oneself, network and connect with people via Twitter, contact different industries and companies.

With social media becoming more popular, this generation is the first to learn future consequences and benefits. No one really knows what to expect, since the rules aren’t fully written.

But one thing is for sure, people’s web presence doesn’t go away, so be smart.

Before posting something on a social media site, pause for a moment. Tapping a few buttons and posting a picture may gain some retweets or laugh, but in the long run, it could greatly impact future careers and acceptances.

Think twice before hitting the post button.